IBM working on battery breakthrough

Making battery that can store 10x more energy than today's best lithium-ion technology

IBM announced today that it is developing a next-generation rechargeable battery capable of storing 10 times more energy than today's top lithium-ion batteries.

The new batteries could be used to power cars and smart energy grids, according to IBM.

The company said it plans to discuss its work on the batteries at its Almaden Institute 2009 conference, which IBM said attracts "innovative thinkers" from academia, government research labs and industry. The 2009 gathering will be held on Aug. 26 and Aug. 27 at the IBM Almaden Research Center in San Jose.

"High-density, scalable energy storage technologies are emerging as the greatest game changer for this new era of renewable energy sources and smarter grids," said Sharon Nunes, vice president of IBM's Big Green Innovations organization, in a statement. "Today, the vast majority of the world's oil is burned for transportation. Energy sources, such as wind and solar power, fluctuate continuously. We believe the solution may lie in the development of an efficient, affordable energy storage network."

IBM also will be using nanotechnology, along with materials science and super computing in the multi-year battery research project.

"Being able to store large amounts of electrical energy in a small package is critically important," said Dan Olds, an analyst with The Gabriel Consulting Group Inc. "If we can't get higher energy densities in our batteries, then true electric cars are a non-starter."

And Olds added that better batteries also are the key to advancing wind, solar, and tidal power.

"We can certainly generate energy from these sources, but the wind doesn't blow all the time and we also have 12 hours of night," he said. "Without better storage technology, energy from these sources is a use-it-or-lose-it proposition. Generating it is only half the battle. Efficiently storing it for use when we need it is the key for making alternative energy actually pay off."

The IBM project is only the latest of several disclosed in recent months.

In April, researchers at MIT reported that they were combining nanotechnology with genetically engineered viruses to build batteries that could power hybrid cars and cell phones. According to the university, the viruses, which infect bacteria but are harmless to humans, build the positively and negatively charged ends of lithium-ion batteries. In lab tests, batteries with the new material could be charged and discharged at least 100 times without losing any capacitance, MIT reported.

And before that, researchers at Stanford University reported using silicon nanowires to enable lithium-ion batteries to hold 10 times the charge they could before. That means a laptop that now holds a four-hour charge could last for 40 hours using the new battery, according to Yi Cui, assistant professor of materials science and engineering at Stanford.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Batterylithium-ion

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?